Stepping through the large curtained-draped door was like stepping back in time. As I entered The Langham’s Palm Court drawing room, I was struck by the sound of smooth, soulful jazz, emanating from a 3-piece band in the corner of the room, at the same time as a stunning Sipsmith Gin ‘Secret Method’ cocktail was coaxed into my hand. My night was certainly off to a great start. I have to confess, I am fascinated by the romanticism of bygone eras, and the opulent surroundings of the Palm Court certainly transport you back to the glamour of the mid 1800’s when Gin Palaces were at their most prolific in London.
My visit to The Langham, London, was to celebrate their new partnership with artisan distillery, Sipsmith, and the launch of the Sipsmith Gin Palace. As of the 13th September, on each Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Palm Court room is to be transformed into an enchanting evening venue. The concept of the Gin Palace is inspired by gin infusions and cocktails designed by Sipsmith Master Distiller, Jared Brown, and The Langham’s Head Mixologist, Alex Kratena, who took some time to talk me through the expansive cocktail menu. Alex explained how the cocktail menu had been created in celebration of the history of gin and how he wanted to take guests on a journey through time. Each cocktail is to represent a different stage in the evolution of what is widely regarded as a British classic; from 1690 when gin was first born, to the invention of the first G&T in 1793, and finally arriving at the 21st century with the rise of molecular mixology.
Of course, I felt that whilst hearing Alex’s explanation was great, nothing was going to be better than actually tasting my way through time, so I started off in 1770 with the aforementioned ‘Secret Method’ cocktail, which tasted divine and was served in the most elegant and chilled, long stem glass, complete with a monogrammed ‘L’ ice cube. This was followed by the 1689 ‘GINEVERISTIC’ cocktail, which was a blend of Loyaal 5-year-old Zeer Oude, Sipsmith Gin, lime juice, lemon juice, The Langham syrup and Champagne.
Conscious of the fact I needed to retain my composure at such a grand event, there were limitations as to how many cocktails I could consume in one night, and so I decided to stop after two. However, I am sure I will return soon, as a number of my girlfriends can’t wait to go.
Bookings for the Sipsmith ‘Gin Palace’ at The Langham, London are available here, or alternatively you could call them on 0207 636 1000.
Palm Court at The Langham, London
The Langham Hotel, 1C Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA